Tuesday, 17 January 2017

My Wanderings - 49. Short Story - 31 God helps those who help themselves only

Kulbushan Kaul was my friend and class mate  right from my childhood.  While some among us  in the class wanted to become Engineers and Doctors, his  aim in life   was to become a Businessman.  A few among  us were not even aware of  what business meant those days. When we could understand that  business  meant  doing something like selling goods and merchandise, we were surprised for  his choice of profession. He was  extraordinarily mischievous and trouble maker. He used to get thrashed by teachers  on daily basis  and still  could not resist the temptation of doing some more  mischief.
Once in our adolescent age, Kulbushan suggested us to witness a new movie show to which everyone agreed wholeheartedly  . When we reached near  cinema hall, all of us  were astonished  to see the rush at  ticket counters . We all  contributed the money towards purchasing of  tickets and handed  it over  to Kulbushan as he was expert in getting  the cinema tickets in such a  huge rush. He started his modus operandi by  taking off his clothes one by one. He  gave us  his coat, sweater , watch and other belongings and proceeded for the task, wearing minimum clothes, crawling below the legs of people who surrounded the ticket window forming a  huge crowd  . Then he suddenly  disappeared from our gaze altogether and was lost in  the crowd . It was  really an uphill task but we were confident of his valour and optimistic about his art of  getting the tickets. We were sure that after crawling below the legs of people for sometime, he will manage to pop his head exactly near the ticket window by holding the iron sill of window and get the tickets. Getting tickets of a newly displayed cinema and  that too on holidays was not every body's cup of tea. It required a great art and technique. Sometimes Kulbushan adopted flying mode for getting tickets. He would  rise on the wall adjacent to  ticket window and while clinging to the wall he could manage to  reach the upper side of window. Then he would come down after trampling the heads of front rowers with his feet and forcing his way in front of window by dispersing the crowd. It was worth seeing feat and daredevil task. The mode of his operation depended on the position of crowd near the window and architecture of cinema hall. We considered him our hero and envied his athletic feats.
Cinema was the only  entertainment those days. VCR's DBD's and even  existence of TV was a remote possibility and beyond the area of our perception. Advance booking was not in vouge. The young people  visit cinema halls nowadays   most comfortably by making advance booking through 'Make my show' apps. Those days it was difficult to watch a new movie with out struggle, least of which was standing in long queues  for hours together. But watching a cinema after struggling for getting its ticket gave double pleasure later on.
  After quarter of an hour crowd started to disperse near the window as tickets had finished. We all were eagerly looking for our friend Kulbushan to appear and that too with success. After sometime we could see Kulbushan proceeding towards us in a very distraught  condition. We could hardly recognise him. His dishevelled hair , haggard look and sunken eyes were all telling a tale of agony and degradation  he might have undergone to secure entertainment  for us. We all were full of praises for his  extraordinary display of valour and heroism. But all our enthusiasm vanished into the  thin air as we noticed  desperation writ large on his face while declaring of his mission unsuccessful . He also told us that he had  lost all the cash in his possession in the process . It was just like adding salt to our injury . However, we controlled our emotions and handed over his belongings to him. Now the tickets were available in black only and that too at exorbitant rates .  We had not  enough cash to purchase cinema tickets in black and  therefore, had to eat  a humble pie. Finally Kulbushan took leave of us after arranging his dishevelled hair with his hands as he was going from different direction  as confided
by him to us . We also left the cinema hall in great displeasure  and dismay.
Next day after reaching School we came to know from one of  our senior students   that he had seen Kulbushan witnessing the same cinema  show. We were surprised how he could manage to get  his ticket. Later on it transpired that Kulbushan had not been unsuccessful in his mission. He had managed to get tickets from the window with our money,  but the idea of duping us had cropped up in his mind while in action. After we left   he sold all the tickets in black and kept one for himself. But he never felt embarrassed  for his deeds ,as according to him , all was fair in Love and Business. We had never thought that Kulbushan will outsmart us like this.  Therefore ,  we did not even ask him to repay  our money back as we felt so desperate about his behaviour.
Most of us were not able to fulfill our ambitions. All of us could not become Doctors or Engineers. But Kulbushan was successful in achieving his aim in life.
Kulbushan after much struggle in life  could make it possible to  became a successful Businessman .'God helps those who help themselves only'  was another famous  maxim,   the meaning of which was changed  by him  to his advantage by adding only to it.
His main aim in business was to maximise profits by hook or crook and  he never cared about  business ethics. Sometimes he would exploit the  loopholes of Govt regulations regarding taxes etc. to his advantage and even compromised the quality of his product for his benefit.
But one incident in his life changed his outlook towards  his business aptitude .
Once  a foreigner who was posted in India  entered his shop to purchase few  costly carpets  for his residence   and asked Kulbushan to make some concessions as he was going to purchase from his shop on regular basis. Kulbushan in order to please the valuable customer said to him,
"Sir. I can help you one way. I may not be able to give you puuca receipt of your purchases so that I can save tax and pass on the benefit to you."
After listening the words of Kulbushan foreigner got furious and replied  back to him,
"You appear to me a very dishonest man. You are deceiving your own Govt by not paying taxes , how can I believe that you will not deceive me on the quality of product . I don't want now  to purchase any thing from you. After saying this, foreigner cancelled his order and left the shop.
This incident laid a deep impact on the mind of Kulbushan. He changed his outlook towards  business. He stopped doing corrupt practices and maintained his books properly. This helped him to maintain his goodwill with customers and tax authorities. Moreover,  Kulbushan  could experience subtle feelings of sublimity in his life perhaps because of his clean  conscience now.

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